I’ve finally been able to test out the new Sonos Roam portable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker, and I have to admit to not being really excited at first. Perhaps my expectations after using the Sonos Move this summer were way too high.
Just like the Move, the Roam is portable. However, the Roam weighs less than a pound — approximately one-sixth of the Move’s weight. It stands at 6.61 inches tall and supports AirPlay 2, Alexa, and Google Assistant. It connects through Wi-Fi, which provides better sound, or Bluetooth. Unfortunately, you can’t do a stereo pair with the latter connection.
Connecting with the Sonos app was pretty simple, but I initially had trouble doing a stereo pair with both speakers when using my iPhone’s hotspot connection. After I got it to work once, it has been rather easy to work on a continuous basis. Once again, I’m mentioning a stereo pair since it’s absolutely essential to really appreciate Sonos’s new product.
On its own, the Roam offers distinguished mono sound with bass that’s impressive for the size of the speaker but not great overall. The sound is very clear though, and one could easily tell it’s a Sonos product with their eyes closed. However, you’ll constantly be wanting more.
Then, when you pair it with another Roam, you’ll realize why these speakers were meant to be used in a pair. You’ll be spending a total of $340 before taxes. This is cheaper than buying one mono Sonos Move for $399. I think it’s a better buy.
Played together, the speakers offer strong bass (but not overbearing) with crystal clear highs. And the stereo separation is very good, even when the speakers are close together. You have to listen to a song like Animals by Martin Garrix to appreciate what the speakers can do when paired together. The speakers are especially good for playing ambient electronic music.
No matter what kind of music you play, you’ll want to have a charger nearby. In my one test, both speakers lasted about 10 hours, which is right in line with the initial claim by Sonos in their advertisements. That’s not a lot. It’s true that the speakers are small, but I expected more juice. It’s really more of an annoyance than a deal killer.
If you are invested in the Sonos ecosystem, buying a the Roam is a no-brainer. It connects easily with other speakers, and the sound is good for a very small room. But if you want a full audiophile experience, you need to buy two Roams. Your wallet may become depressed, but your ears will be thankful.